As of now, roof racks are the most common finds on today’s solar homes – but the next step forward, solar cells as roofing materials, has made its first appearances on the market. Most current products cover only a portion of the roof, while the rest of the roof consists of a conventional material. As such, solar roofing must both generate solar energy and meet the performance needs of the project. (Click here for an overview of all types of roofing materials)

CertainTeed’s Apollo II and Apollo Tile II solar roofing were among the first to market in 2017, with a power rating of 60 watts per shingle or tile. The Apollo II shingles have been tested to withstand pressures of up to 250 pounds per square foot, may be installed in wind zones up to 150 miles per hour, and carry a Class A fire rating.

While Apollo is available alongside conventional materials, other concepts envision solar shingles as all or part of a proprietary whole-roof covering. An incomplete list includes Tesla’s prototype, unveiled in 2016, Sunflare’s residential roof shingle prototype, recently unveiled at the 2018 Solar Power International Show, and the 3 IN 1 ROOF system, set to ship in 2019.

Sunflare’s roofing is made of CIGS solar cells covered in polymer sheets, which are lightweight, durable, and 100% waterproof, according to the manufacturer. The product is expected on the market within the next 18 months.

Tesla’s roofing consists of both solar and non-solar tempered glass tiles, available in slate, tile, smooth, and textured appearances, and features a Class 4 hail rating, Class F wind rating, and Class A fire rating. Tesla has been taking orders with a $1,000 deposit for its product since May 2017, and while some installations have been made, volume production has been delayed from 2017 to 2019.

The 3 IN 1 ROOF system’s non-solar components use a closed-cell foam base and geo-polymer coating to create tiles designed to rise no more than 12 degrees Fahrenheit above ambient temperature in conditions up to 110 degrees. According to 3 IN 1 ROOF, this allows the roofing's solar tiles to perform more efficiently than they would on roofing with higher heat gain. It also carries a Class A fire rating, along with a 200+ mile per hour wind rating.

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